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Useful Tips to Ace MUET Listening Test

Malaysian University English Test (MUET) is an English proficiency test administered by the Malaysian Examination Council where it covers all the four skills in language: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. The test is widely recognized by all public universities in Malaysia and it aims to measure pre-university students’ English proficiency for entry into tertiary education. It is compulsory for Malaysian students to take MUET if they intend to pursue their first degree studies in local public universities.

MUET is designed to help students bridge the gap in language needs to communicate effectively, deliver appropriate context for language use, and develop critical thinking via the competent use of English language skills. An aggregated score range of zero to 300 is used to measure students’ proficiency level where the scores are then graded in six bands, with Band 6 being the highest (Excellent User) while Band 1 being the lowest (Extremely Limited User).

Listening is one of the important components in English language acquisition. Mastering listening skill may seem like an easy task, however without proper attention and approaches, it could be the hardest skill to conquer. There are five individual recordings in MUET Listening Test (Paper Code 800/1) with a total of 20 questions, weighting 15%. The test consists of three parts (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) which measure different levels of comprehension and critical thinking skills. In order to answer the questions, students are required to listen attentively to all audios.








Number of Questions




30 minutes


Possible Genres

Lecture, briefing, talk, discussion, interview, telephone conversation, announcement, instructions, advertisement, news, meeting, documentary


Possible Question Types

i)                 Information Transfer

ii)                Short-answer Questions

iii)              3-option Multiple-choice Questions


Here are some tips the students need to know in order to ace MUET Listening Test, as shared by Ms. Nurin Erdiani Bt. Mhd Fadzil, an English Language Instructor from Centre for the Advancement of Language Competence (CALC) with 7 years of experience as MUET examiner.

Reduce listening barriers

As funny as it sounds, it is important that students clean their ears prior to the test to improve hearing. This aids students to train their ears to distinguish between the sounds better. Besides, depending on the size of the venue, speakers quality and background noises, physical barriers such as thick scarves or beanies should also be avoided since they tend to reduce students’ hearing ability. Students should consider eliminating these barriers first as they could affect the listening process.



“You have one minute to read all questions in Part X”

During this one minute allocation before the test begins, students are advised to read the instructions to remind themselves of the number of words allowed in the answers. Students have to bear in mind that they cannot write more than the instructed number and that a hyphenated word is counted as one word. It is also crucial that students get to familiarize themselves with the questions in order to provide the correct answers. Hence, they need to skim the questions and scan the key words to get a gist of the potential information required from the audios, to be used later in their selective listening.

Selective listening

Jotting down everything from the recordings is a bad practice because it could cause students to lose track on some of the important information and fail to grasp the key answers. The best way to tackle the questions is by practicing selective listening where they need to select and write down the key points as they listen to the tracks. The use of abbreviation and symbols is useful in order to write efficiently while listening. Therefore, there is no need to focus on spelling yet. As the audios are repeated twice, students must not panic if they miss out a word or two because they can acquire them later.

Contextual clues

Having limited vocabulary is a major setback for students to score listening test. Students are encouraged to make connections between their knowledge and key answers based on the context by inferencing while listening. This skill is useful especially when students are at loose ends when they need to make linguistic inference from the information they have gathered. They should know how to make sense of the words by using contextual clues. Thus, students can anticipate the kind of words they should focus on using their background knowledge and personal experience.

Final checking

Students are given two minutes after each part to check their answers. This also involves checking for spelling errors and the number of words. In fact, students are advised to refer to their notes for cross-checking and transfer the missing information onto the answer sheet. Use the time wisely.

Written by Nur Farhana and Noor Farahani (English Unit)


Date of Input: 15/10/2019 | Updated: 15/10/2019 | hasniah


Centre of Foundation Studies for Agricultural Science
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 UPM Serdang
Selangor Darul Ehsan